|Persons||8 seated, 10 max.|
|Engine||Long shaft 40 - 90hp.|
|90hp + 2 persons|
|Max Tube Diameter||53cm|
|No of Chambers||5|
|Main Uses||Runabout, Fishing, FastTender, Watersports/Skiing and Diving.|
|Price as Seen||(inc. engine) £12,595 (incl. VAT, excl. Trailer)|
The new Seasport range of RIBS produced by Avon Inflatables are some of the most elegantly finished craft of their kind on the market at this present time.
Both the S4.65 and the S5.45 models represent the very latest in RIB technology and styling. Although both have been produced mainly with the sunnier export market in mind, it is clear that this new generation of craft present a very attractive proposition to the northern European buyer grey skies or not.
Upon first stepping aboard, I was immediately impressed by the feeling of quality. There is no getting away from the fact that a manufactured craft from a company like Avon has a considerable edge over the cottage industry type build. Here, there are no ugly edges or flaws in the gelcoat, no uneven deck surfaces or
Even at a quick glance you will notice that the sponsons, with their tough raised grey rubber straking, wear patches and grab lines, are indeed not only attractively designed but also beautifully made. Next time you inspect a RIB with a critical eye, stand at the stern and look the full length of the boat to see whether the sponsons distort in shape around the seams and curvatures. I guarantee many will, particularly those of the in-house variety.
Not so with Avon, even amongst their competitors they are noted for their supremacy in tube design. Avon's Du Pont Hypalon fabric carries the widely publicized 10 year guarantee, and just in case you've ever wondered what this material is, it basically consists of a resilient, heavy duty weave fabric which has been enmeshed by means of a 'calendering' process, in tough waterproof synthetic rubber. Still no clearer?
This particular boat has a good secure feel about her, which is enhanced by her deep non-slip decking and sponsons which are set not only high enough to provide a sensible environment for children to move about in, but are also the right height for Mum and Dad to park their bottoms on.
Several of the internal features are of interest, including the helm station which is hinged to allow full access to the 98 litre fuel tank. The console itself, though relatively compact, nonetheless is large enough to take all the usual instrumentation. The darkened, curved windscreen with its stainless grab-rail adds style to this unit, plus, as expected, additional stowage is available within the dry locker section.
Having become accustomed to helming RIBs from a jockey console, I found myself wanting to stand at the wheel rather than be seated on the double bench seat. Although this unit was sumptuously attired in colour co-ordinated white upholstery, and was indeed very comfortable to relax upon, I felt it was a little low for the helm position, particularly for cruising and longer passage making purposes.
Once again, every possible area has been devoted to the maximisation of space and stowage. Not only does the seat unit provide a very substantial dry locker facility but additionally, the two upholstered forward lockers either side of the forepeak are capable of taking four 6ft water skis. No mean feat, if you pardon the expression!
The hull is of the medium `V' variety, and therefore gives a firmer ride than the normally associated with a craft of this size. Not having the opportunity to test this boat in a `real' sea, it was difficult to ascertain how she might handle in an offshore environment. Nevertheless, having had considerable experience in taking smaller craft of this range many miles on extended cruising expeditions, I am confident this boat is well able to look after herself and the crew aboard her without any problems.
With regard to her performance on the day, I liked in particular the easy way she handled, it struck me how ideally suited she would be to the requirements of a lady helmsman.
The 90hp Mercury outboard represented the top rated power recommended for this particular model, and being the tidy engine that it is, it was of no surprise that it produced a very tidy speed of approximately 40mph. I felt the Mercury 90 made the perfect match, just the right power pack to have on the stern of this boat.
Going back to the matter of her hull. It did not grip the water through the high speed manoeuvres as well as a deep `V' might have done, and there was definitely a small amount of sideways skid when the helm was put hard over, but then again, as this was not particularly pronounced, I wouldn't consider it to be problem. Putting that aside, in general she was a pleasure to drive, and if I had to sum her up in just one word, it would be `fun'.
Clearly this boat is designed as a party people carrier. It would come into its own under the conditions for which it has been designed for, namely; coastal hopping, beaching, skiing, snorkling, and picnicing. Though I would feel perfectly safe going offshore in her, long distance hauls are clearly not what she has been intended for.
Her basic inventory is indeed generous, but an impressive list of `extras' is also available to those with the deeper pocket. They include such goodies as a stainless steel swim ladder, a fresh water shower, navigation lights and stern mast, a tailored overall cover, an automatic bilge pump, plus many more.
In summary, she is a boat that will provide a lot of fun, and for as long as you are prepared to clean her gleaming white livery, her stylish lines will guarantee she'll never be short of admiring glances, or a crew to share them!
Avon Inflatables Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1554 741155